Monthly Archives: January 2012

GO GREEN LUNCH BOX – Review & Giveaway!

Whenever I get a new product to try I always try to photograph it ASAP in case something happens to it before I have a chance to review it like a huge pasta sauce explosion.  It may sound like I am being dramatic, but if you were at my house this morning you would understand that it looked like a murder scene when the Berbere Stew I was prepping somehow spilled ALL OVER the counter, cabinets, sink, dishwasher door, floor, you get the picture.  You just never know, so I always try to take pictures of products right away whether I end-up posting them on Veggie Grettie or not.

I was recently sent a Go Green Lunch Box to review and I am so impressed with it.  My daughter was super excited to try the lunchbox and was so disappointed every morning that she woke-up and learned I hadn’t photographed it yet.  We had been having a string of icky grey days weather-wise and that doesn’t make for good photographs.  The first sunny day we had I dropped everything and snapped a bunch of photos.  My daughter was so happy to learn that the photos had been taken and the lunch box was finally hers.

The Go Green Lunch Box has a lot of features that I really appreciate, however the bento box design is my favorite since it seems to inspire a lot of creativity when making lunches.  I had so much fun trying to decide what to put into each compartment and there is so much room!  This is not a small lunch box.  I could easily pack a huge lunch for my husband in one of these lunchboxes and cover all the bases from appetizer, to main dish, to dessert, and beverage (It comes with an 8 oz. reusable drink container).

This is a very well designed lunch box in that the lid has silicone seals for each of the 5 compartments which keeps all of the food and flavors separate.  I tried hummus, yogurt, and other sauces and they all stayed within their own compartments with no leaking (However, I also did a soup test and there was some leakage).  There is also a locking mechanism on the lid which prevents it from opening and spilling (very smart design feature).  In addition the lunch box is dishwasher safe (top shelf), though I find that it is very easy to hand wash.

It is apparent that the Go Green Lunch Box was designed by a mother who understands children’s lunch needs;  There is even a white board where you can write your child a message!

Now…to the GIVEAWAY.

GO GREEN LUNCH BOX GIVEAWAY

Kim Castner (pictured above), the founder and designer of the Go Green Lunch Box has offered-up a Go Green Lunch Box set to one Veggie Grettie reader!!!  The lunch boxes come in a wide variety of designs (click HERE to see them) and she is allowing the winner to pick the design of their choice.

TO ENTER

You will gain one entry for each task completed:

  1. Subscribe to Veggie Grettie’s E-mail Subscription (upper right corner of homepage below the Header photo)
  2. “Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook
  3. “Follow” Veggie Grettie on Twitter
  4. Tweet the following message, @veggiegrettie is hosting @GoGreenLunchBox giveaway http://veggiegrettie.com/2012/01/31/go-green-lunch-box-review-and-giveaway/
  5. Send an e-mail out to your friends telling them about the giveaway and cc me on it gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com

Come back to THIS POST and leave a comment detailing which of the above you have completed and make sure I have your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!  This is a great giveaway.

***** The giveaway will run through February 12, 2012 *****

To learn more about Go Green Lunch Boxes, visit their FAQ page by clicking HERE.

Giveaway limited to residents of the US and Canada

About these ads

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Filed under Giveaways, Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

STEP BACK TO GO FORWARD

I spend time at the beginning of each year reflecting on the past year and creating goals both personally and professionally for the New Year.

When looking back at 2011, I feel like I accomplished a fair amount, yet I believe I failed somewhat in my goal to inspire my family to crave more meatless meals. Upon reflection I now realize that I tried to do too much too fast, which is something I have definitely been guilty of historically. I made the mistake of not “bridging the gap” enough when preparing our meals. It is REALLY hard for massively carnivorous people to go cold turkey and eat beans and grains as the basis of some of their evening meals.   It was also foolish of me to expect that they would quickly start craving whole food plant-based meals as much as I do. Becoming vegan was a process for me and did not happen overnight…I should not expect that my family would not need to go through the same process as I did when learning to eat more meatless meals.

So, I am going to try something new this year. While we will definitely still consume many whole food plant-based meals, I will also be adding some faux meats into some of our dinners. This is a means to an end. I don’t plan on cooking this way forever, by do want to use the faux meats as a stepping stone to help my family realize that they can learn to love some whole food plant-based meals.

Sometimes in life we need to be wise enough to realize when a new approach is needed.

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Filed under Education, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian

DESSERT HUMMUS – PB Chocolate Chip

About a week ago my daughter’s teacher and I were chatting when she mentioned that another teacher at the school just made a sweet hummus that she said was really good.  She found the recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie whose blog I adore.

I decided to give the sweet hummus thing a whirl and came-up with a recipe that I am a bit obsessed with.  I have seriously made 5 batches in the last 5 days (some of which was given away, but not much)!

This hummus is free of added salt, oil (just natural peanut butter), and refined sugar.  The dates add such a nice sweetness to the hummus without leaving you with the crash and burn that follows a traditional sugar rush.  Thanks to the fiber and nutrients in the dates your body will be happy.

While this may taste like cookie dough, you won’t be able to eat the whole bowl because the chickpeas will fill you up so quickly.  My favorite ways to eat the hummus are with either a banana, some sliced apples, or celery spears.

This recipe is dedicated to you Nicole!  Thanks for the inspiration.

INGREDIENTS

8 Medjool Dates, soaked (I buy mine at Costco)
Soaking water
15 oz. can Eden Organics Salt-Free Garbanzo Beans (aka chickpeas)
1/3 cup organic peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla
2-3 Tbs. Enjoy Life mini-chocolate chips (optional)
 

Pit the dates and put them into a bowl.  Press the dates down into the bowl and cover them with filtered water until they are JUST covered (it is ok if a tiny bit of the dates peak out through the water).  Soak the dates in the water for at least 30 minutes.

Once the dates have soaked, place all of the ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in the food processor and process for 1-2 minutes.  Stop and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.  Repeat this process a total of three times until the hummus is very smooth.  I usually use this time to catch-up on dishes or mail… multi-tasking rules!  Note that the hummus will be thinner than you are used to since it is warm from the processing.  Rest assured the hummus will firm-up a bit once refrigerated.

Pour the hummus into a bowl and mix in the chocolate chips if so desired.  That’s it.  You are done.  Place the completed hummus in the fridge to firm-up.  Personally I always have a little serving of the hummus at this point with some apple or banana since I don’t have the patience to wait for it to set.

I also prefer to make the hummus without the chocolate chips and keep the plain version in the fridge since I don’t like to have chocolate chips in my dessert hummus if I will be eating it with sliced apples.  In general I prefer the hummus without the chocolate chips, so I just mix the chocolate chips in for the kids at serving time.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Beans/Legumes, Dessert, Dip, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

JON HINDS – Plant Strong Gym Owner

“Train like a Gorilla, Eat like a Gorilla, Chill like a Gorilla”

I first learned of Jon Hinds through the T. Colin Campbell newsletter which I subscribe to.  Jon founded the Monkey Bar Gymnasium and has had a very successful career (Don’t you love the quote above from his website!).  He is a former NBA strength and conditioning coach and is currently a consultant for both the NFL and NBA.  Jon trained Darryl Strawberry (New York Yankees), Glen Braggs (Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals), Charles Smith (New York Knicks), Anfernee Hardaway (Phoenix Suns), Eric Davis (St. Louis Cardinals), Lucious Harris (New Jersey Nets) and members of the L.A. Clippers.

Personally Jon has achieved some amazing feats:

  • Gold Medallist in the 2000 Pan American Games – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
  • Gold Medallist in the 2001 Rickson Gracie World Championships – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

In an interview with Bodybuilding.com (click HERE for the interview in it’s entirety), Jon explained his nutrition philosophy:

For nutrition, I use a simple plan called the “Hand Plan”. The “Hand Plan” follows simple portion control with a plant based diet. Most people love to eat meat, or believe that you need to eat meat to keep or gain muscle, but I am trying to do and teach what is most healthy for the body and the environment and eating animal products is not the way.

We suggest people eat 90% or more plant based foods. This has proven extremely effective for burning fat as we average 17 pounds of fat loss and 5 pounds of muscle gain in the first 60 days of Monkey Bar Gymnasium training and nutrition.

The “Hand Plan” is simple: eat portion sizes that are as big as your open hand, keeping the majority of the plate or bowl green foods. Keep plenty of nuts, seeds and legumes in your intake as well.

Click on the link and enjoy the video where Jon explains what led him to eat a plant-based diet and what he has learned.

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Filed under Althletics, Education, Exercise, Fat, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian, Video, Weight Issues

THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON

Happy New Year!  Last night we had our annual Chinese New Year celebration and it was wonderful.  As always, my in-laws spent all week prepping and cooking which resulted in a spectacular meal.  As soon as we walked into their house everyone swarmed around the food like moths to a flame.

I thought you might enjoy a glimpse into the Chinese side of my family.  I am such a lucky girl to be able to experience the Chinese culture so intimately and my children are so lucky to have one foot inside each culture.

Below is just a sampling of all the food they made…I was too busy enjoying it to photograph every dish.

Gong Xi Fa Cai / Gong Hey Fat Choy!!!

P.S.  Can you believe my mother-in-law is 70?!?!?!?

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Filed under Holidays, Vegan, Vegetarian

SWEET CORN and APPLE PORRIDGE

I dreamed-up this recipe while on a bike ride two days ago.  It had been grey and cold outside (In my native Californian opinion).  Finally on Wednesday the crisp air turned blue and it was gorgeous.  Despite this, I planned on working all day on the backlog of posts I had been meaning to write.   Enter other plans…I was hit with a computer virus.  While the virus scan was going there wasn’t much writing I could do, so I decided to hop onto my trusty mountain bike and get outside.

Sometimes things happen for a reason.  It felt so good to be outside enjoying the beautiful day.  Out of nowhere I began to think about corn and how wonderfully sweet it is all on its own.  Quickly my mind turned to apples and it all came together when I realized how nice it would be to combine the two.  Sweet Corn and Apple Porridge was born.

I really wanted to keep the ingredients to a minimum for this recipe.  When you are working with so few ingredients, the quality of those ingredients is paramount.  The end result of this porridge will be drastically different if made with ingredients sourced at your local farmer’s market versus the grocery store.  Using superior ingredients will also reduce (if not eliminate) your need to sweeten the porridge with stevia; I didn’t need any.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups fresh corn (I used 5 small ears), divided
2 large apples, small dice
1 c. apple juice 
1 c. vanilla non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 c. Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats  (optional)
stevia to taste (optional)
.

Pour the apple juice and non-dairy milk into your high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix).  Add 2 cups corn, and half of the diced apples to the blender.  Blend for 1 minute until very smooth.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the remaining corn and diced apple.  Mix to incorporate.  At this point either serve the porridge cold or heat it gently on the stove until it is warm.

I ate a large bowl of the fresh cold porridge.  Afterward I added some cinnamon to the remaining porridge along with the gluten-free oats and put it in the refrigerator.  A few hours later I snacked on this and it was soooo good!

I ate the ENTIRE batch myself in the span of a day…I promise to share next time!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Breakfast, Gluten Free, Quick, Raw, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

SABRINA NELSON’S BERBERE STEW

Last year I attended the Healthy Lifestyle Expo.  Jeff and Sabrina Nelson (of VegSource) founded the Healthy Lifestyle Expo as a means to share the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.  Through plant-based eating Sabrina has been able to overcome significant health challenges (click here for her inspirational story).  The Nelson family has done so much to educate others and to further exposure for this way of life.

The last morning of the Healthy Lifestyle Expo began with cooking demonstrations and Sabrina shared her recipe for Berbere Stew.  I was struck by the simplicity of this one pot meal and how tasty it was.  Needless to say I have been eating a lot of Berbere Stew since returning from the conference.  The BBQ sauce makes it taste like baked beans and it is soooo good over brown rice.

I happen to like the Berbere spice, but if you are unsure how your children will react to it, make a batch without it and go from there.

Thanks for such a great recipe Sabrina!

INGREDIENTS

2 ½ cups red lentils
2 jars Muir Glen Portobello Mushroom Sauce (or other fat free, low sodium pasta sauce)
2 empty Muir Glen bottles worth of water
½ cup BBQ sauce of choice
1 Tbs Berbere spice (Sabrina’s favorite Berbere spice is available here.)
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Pour all of the ingredients into a rice cooker.

Press button to cook on “brown rice” setting.

Sabrina uses the Zojirushi rice cooker which takes about 90 minutes to finish cooking, and then it automatically goes into a “warming” setting.

The stew actually improves over time and tastes even better the second day when the flavors have had time to intensify.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Cooking Demonstration, Crock Pot, Events, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

POST CLEANSE LUNCH

Happy Monday!  I hope you are enjoying some time off of work and or school.  I am feeling great post-cleanse.  Last night we went to dinner at my favorite Peruvian restaurant and I had the Saltado de Vegetales with brown rice…yum!

The sandwich I made for lunch today was sooooooo good.  I used whole wheat bread.  While Veggie Grettie’s recipes are gluten free, I personally do have wheat from time to time since I am not officially gluten intolerant.  I do notice that I get a stomachache if I have wheat very often, so I limit my consumption of it and have it maybe once a month.

My sandwich included, pickles, pea shoots, red onion, cucumber, tomato, spicy mustard, and a tiny bit of Vegenaise.  So good!

What is your go-to vegan sandwich???

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Filed under Food Journal, Recipes, sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian

CLEANSE FOOD LOG – Days 6 and 7

There really isn’t much to report food-wise this weekend other than the gorging I did at lunch yesterday which led to feeling crazy full for the next 5 1/2 hours.  I know that the rest of my food log today will pretty much be a repeat of what the rest of the week has looked like, so I am going to take the rest of the day off of blogging and spend it with my kiddos.

I plan on stopping the full-force cleanse after tonight.  I am really glad that I did the cleanse this past week.  I feel clear and clean and have no regrets.  Eating so much produce really does have its benefits.  After the cleanse I will continue eating mostly fruits and veggies for breakfast and lunch and for dinner I will add in some beans and grains.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

SATURDAY

  • 8:15 am – Big bowl of veggie soup.
  • 10:45 am – Chocolate smoothie (sweet potato, zucchini, 2 frozen bananas, cocoa powder, some stevia).  I drank about half and put the rest in the fridge for later.
  • 1:00 pm – Finished the other half of the smoothy.
  • 1:15-2:15 pm – Did an hour of hard cardio on the recumbent bike.
  • 2:30 pm – Had some Shirataki Noodle stir fry embellished with roasted cauliflower, green beans, and baby carrots.  This ended-up being a really big meal.  I am stuffed (ate too much…yuck!).
  • 8:00 pm – Bowl of veggie soup, some toasted nori, and apple slices.  I was so full after lunch that I couldn’t even think about eating until now.
Click HERE to read Jeff’s day 6 food log.

SUNDAY

  • 11:30 am – Bowl of kiwi, banana, pomegranate, apple, and pear.
  • Lunch will probably be a big salad
  • Dinner will be Chinese hot pot at my in-laws.  I will be eating chrysanthemum leaves, a variety of mushrooms, pea shoots, bamboo hearts, and taro root.
  • After dinner I am sure I will nosh on some fruit.

Click HERE to read Jeff’s day 7 food log.

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Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Detox, Education, Food Journal, Vegan, Vegetarian

CLEANSE FOOD LOG – Day 5

My biggest challenge today was not going out to dinner.  Usually by Friday I am toast and despite the fact that I love to cook, I don’t feel like cooking.  I wanted to go to one of my favorite Peruvian restaurants (They make an awesome veggie plate) and my husband felt like it would be too tempting for him.  I am more than happy to support him in this since I am so proud of how well he is doing.  He had a business restaurant at a steakhouse today and ended-up eating tomato soup and an artichoke (Yay!  He made such great choices.).

FRIDAY

  • 7:15 am – Small bowl of watermelon and pineapple
  • 8:30 am – Had the usual bowl of cut-up Fuji apple, pear, banana, pomegranate, and cinnamon, BUT also added a very ripe persimmon into the mix and it was fantastic.
  • 9:30 -10:30 am – Pilates reformer class.  The instructor kicked our butts!  I can’t tell if that class was super duper extra hard or if I was a little lower on energy.

  • 11:00 am – Checked-out the new farmer’s market in town and sampled some strawberries.  I was really excited to see so many people there.  The parking lot was a battleground (Reminded me of the mall during the holidays!).
  • 12:00 pm – Finished the chocolate banana pudding I made last night.  I was surprised to see how well it held-up in the fridge overnight.
  • 12:30 pm – Salad made with slivered cucumber, slivered red bell pepper, organic pea shoots, seaweed salad, and lite rice wine vinegar.  I also had a few pickles on the side (Odd combo…but tasted good at the time).
  • 2:00 pm –  Handful of grapes from the farmer’s market.
  • 3:15 pm - Another handful of grapes.
  • 3:45 pm – Some roasted nori and Brothers-All-Natural freeze dried Asian Pears
  • 5:30 pm – Just came home and I am STARVING.  Eating grapes while baking some potatoes.
  • 6:20 pm – 1 1/2 baked potatoes (on the smaller side), bruschetta, roasted cauliflower, and a bowl of veggie soup.
  • 9:00 pm – I plan on having a bowl of pomegranate seeds

Have a great weekend!  TGIF.

To read Jeff’s food log for day 5 click HERE.

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Filed under Cleansing, Cleansing, Detox, Education, General Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues